מקץ

In this week’s parsha we see the ascendance of Yosef to the position of Viceroy of Egypt, due to his success in interpreting Pharaoh’s dream.  Besides bringing to mind the story of Purim, it also sheds light on just how extraordinary Yosef was as a person.  While the narrative, especially Yosef entering the story in the role of dream-interpreter once again, might make us forget, the parsha begins by emphasizing that two years have gone by since we last heard from him.  We also know (41:14) that Yosef has been in prison this whole time.  One might, therefore, expect him to do his job, hope desperately for a reward (namely, not being returned to jail), and move on with the tough life that he has been dealt since being sold into slavery.  Instead, we see an extremely composed, ever-humble servant of Hashem.  Upon entering the palace, Yosef is told by Pharaoh (who, it is helpful to remember, is seen as a divine ruler on earth) that no one has been able to helpfully interpret the dream Pharaoh had the previous night, and he is in a bad temper as a result.  The stakes a clearly high, as the text reminds us by bringing up the story of the two viziers whose dreams Yosef interpreted in jail.  Yosef is remarkably calm under this pressure though, and answers Pharaoh by saying “Apart from meHashem will supply Pharaoh with peace of mind” (41:16, translation mine).  What does this mean, “apart from me”?  Sforno offers some helpful context by saying: “Even though you [Pharaoh] said “and there is no one to solve it [the dream]” (41:15), as if I [Yosef] was the only one wise enough, I think that, without a doubt, there is another who is capable of interpreting your dream” (ibid.) – namely Hashem.  Such humility, especially after being unjustly imprisoned for over two years under the rulership of this Pharaoh, speaks to the unflappable faith Yosef has in Hashem, and Pharaoh rewards him for this accordingly, by saying: “After Hashem told you all of this [the interpretation of my dream], there is no one wise like you [that I should appoint to see Egypt through the famine]” (41:39).

Let us be blessed

With Yosef’s humility

In good times, and bad

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